Under-utilised brands are the target of a new venture set up by the founding partners of international advertising practice, M&C Saatchi. SAATCHiNVEST is looking to take advantage of the recent wave of non-core brands being divested by multinationals. The venture will take on these divested assets in an attempt to revitalise and reposition underperforming brands. The team’s first deal – the acquisition of the Complan and Casilan brands from Heinz is a typical example and a model for future transactions.
SAATCHiNVEST is a six-strong team, headed by managing director Andrew Leek, who was headhunted from turnaround specialist Alchemy Partners in October last year to set up the venture. Also on the team are five partners from M&C Saatchi, who have committed their own capital to the venture – the founders Maurice and Charles Saatchi, Bill Muirhead, David Kershaw and Jeremy Sinclair.
Leek was brought in for his experience in identifying companies for acquisition, structuring and executing transactions and monitoring investments. Leek describes potential portfolio companies as “established brands that need marketing TLC to bring them to their full potential.” This is where the M&C Saatchi partners come in, he says, offering strategic marketing advice in areas such as identifying potential brand targets, brand promotion and repositioning. He also stressed that the venture is totally independent of the agency both financially and in the fact that the partners will not be doing the advertising for the brands.
SAATCHiNVEST will work on a deal by deal opportunistic basis and has not yet raised a fund. Leek did not rule out the possibility of raising a fund in the future: “Maybe one day we would look to raise a fund from external investors, but it is still early days,” he said.
The Complan and Casilan transaction was funded with capital provided by the partners and management also retained a stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. SAATCHiNVEST holds a 51 per cent stake, HJ Heinz Company retains 34 per cent and Complan’s management holds 15 per cent. Barclays provided debt finance. Complan is a UK market leader in the non-slimming nutritional meal replacement market and Casilan is one of the leading muscle building protein supplements for body builders and athletes. SAATCHiNVEST will acquire the Complan and Casilan brands in Europe and the Americas from Heinz. The brands in the rest of the world will remain with Heinz.